At the beginning of 2019 cervical screening switched from the smear test to testing for HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is the cause of the great majority of cervical cancers.
Testing for HPV is carried out in the same ways as the traditional cervical smear testing in the doctor’s surgery by one of our female doctors. A sample of cells is taken from the neck of the womb using a small ‘brush’ and this sample is sent to the laboratory where it is initially tested for HPV.
Ladies who are found to be carrying the HPV virus in the neck of the womb then have the cells analysed to see whether they are normal or showing any pre-cancerous changes.
Ladies who are not found to be carrying the HPV virus do not then have any further cell analysis or further investigations.
The national cervical screening program tests ladies under 50 years old every three years and those over 50 years old every five years.
Privately we can offer more frequent screening as is the norm in some countries (Germany).
At SurreyGP we can also offer HPV testing and cervical smear reading on every sample, regardless of the HPV result.